Fairmont State softball wins first conference title in program history
Earned automatic bid to NCAA Atlantic Regional with win over West Virginia Wesleyan
FAIRMONT, W.Va (WDTV) - “I told them a month ago we were going to win this, didn’t I? And I meant it!”
It isn’t lost on Fairmont State softball how good of a weekend they had. After all, the team won its first Mountain East Conference title in program history.
“Electric, really. It was crazy, the best feeling I’ve ever had. This is the best team that I’ve ever been on. The energy’s crazy, the bond that we have is crazy,” sophomore infielder Emily Riggs said. “It still feels surreal. I still feel like I’m on Cloud 9. It’s kind of like a Cinderella story almost.”
Getting the win was one thing, but the Falcons had to fight to get there. They went 4-0 in the tournament and defeated number one-seeded West Virginia Wesleyan twice for the trophy.
“Especially to be the first to do it. There have been really good teams come through Fairmont, but this one’s just the team chemistry, the atmosphere, everything,” junior pitcher Caitlyn Kassay said. “It fell into place and it was a great experience for everybody.”
Fairmont State was able to take control in the championship game, using a big fifth inning to maintain the lead and closed out the game with a 7-4 final.
“Getting a championship is just unreal, there are no words to describe it. All of us were going in there like, ‘we’re here, just our best, have fun,’ and I’ve never seen our team play with so much confidence and calmness at the same time,” junior outfielder Katy Darnell said. “I’m just so happy.”
The fight isn’t over either. FSU is the eight-seed in the Atlantic Regional, a lower seed than the conference foe they just beat.
“We’re the underdogs,” Riggs said. “We were the underdogs in the MEC, we’ll be the underdogs again in the regional.”
Armed with three MEC All-Tournament team members - Caitlyn Kassay, Peyton Wetherholt and Emily Riggs, the latter also the tournament MVP - they know the numbers don’t matter.
“Nobody’s playing for themselves, everybody’s playing for the team and Coach Evans. Everybody puts their heart out the whole time,” Kassay said. “Once we step across those white lines, everybody’s all in, all the time.”
This team knows one thing for sure - it’s all about mentality, something their head coach instills in them as often as he can.
“Just keep hitting. I think our bats got hot at the exact moment we needed them to get hot and we’re just grateful,” junior infielder Brooke Schmitt said. “Coach Evans says before just about every game to play with gratitude and that’s what we did, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do throughout the postseason, however long it lasts.”
“I just couldn’t be prouder,” interim head coach Greg Evans said. “I’m so proud.”
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